Sunday, September 16, 2012

Week 3: Gettin' in the Groove

It feels good to have such a productive week.  Well, at least school was productive.  Housework, not so much.  Oh well.  Such is the life of a homeschooling family. :)

Our history lessons have been rich in content about the beginnings of the colonization of the New World.  I'm learning (and re-learning) as much as the kids, and learning more than I think I ever have.  I'm so thankful for quality books, both textbooks and living history books, to guide us through this period of history.  My Father's World chose a great selection of books!  Katie especially enjoys the stories from  American Pioneers and Patriots.  At the end of each section, there is a page that describes how a certain task was done.  This week, it was about how the pioneers made soap.  Katie wanted to give it a try, doing it exactly how they did.  I'm thinking that taking her to Pioneer Days at a local park will be sufficient.  I think they have demonstrations and hands-on activities for kids.  Otherwise, we can make soap the way that most modern crafters do it - the supplies are at the store!

We had to back Katie up in math to review some lessons from last year.  My intentions to do math throughout the summer failed miserably.  It's always easier said than done.  So now, we have some reviewing to do.  At least I'm able to pick through it to review only what she needs.

Emily is working on fraction equations and it seems a bit confusing right now.  I'm going to look at the next several lessons to see where we're headed.  My experience with RightStart tells me that there is good reason for how things are taught.  My experience also tells me that there are times when Emily truly gets it and just needs to move on.  So, I'll look ahead and determine which directions we'll go.

English is Emily's least favorite subject.  And although I was good at it, it was my least favorite too.  Let's face it.  It's boring.  And it's complicated.  But despite her dislike of it, Emily is adjusting to using her English book (All-in-One English).  I have to giggle inside because when she first saw the new English book, she was happy to see it instead of her old one, and claimed that she hated her old book.  After she started using All-in-One English, she then claimed to hate that book too!  In reality, it's the subject she hates, not the books.  The lesson in that for homeschoolers is that we shouldn't always be quick to switch books just because a child thinks she hates it.  It could be - brace yourself - that there is a part of learning that is just not enjoyable for them!  I get it. 

Science has been fun so far.  Who doesn't enjoy learning about animals?  Both of my girls have embraced the books we're using and have enjoyed searching for additional information and pictures on the internet.  They even made their own science boards (which I forgot to share last week).  Emily created and included a game on hers and Katie made a nice display with her toy animals. 



I just ordered the Apologia General Science book for Emily.  According to what I've read, she should be able to work through this book mainly on her own.  I hope that pans out.  Animal science has been great and I will not deprive Emily from continuing with that since she obviously loves it so much, but she definitely needs the general science. 

I’ve been reading to the girls every night, which is something I haven’t been too consistent in doing over the past several years.  I’m reading Squanto, friend of the Pilgrims to Katie and Almost Home, a book about the Pilgrims on the Mayflower to Emily.  I usually read one chapter a night to Emily and two to Katie (since hers is shorter).  But both girls have talked me into reading more some nights because they couldn’t wait to hear what would happen next.  Reading aloud is incredibly meaningful.  It instills in kids a love for books.  It teaches them that books are exciting, engaging, and adventurous, and full of detail.  It teaches them to have better listening skills.  And most importantly, it creates a deeper bond with your children.  I really wish I had been more consistent with it over the past few years.  But I'm thankful that my girls still enjoy hearing a good story read to them.

I'll close with telling you some exciting news!  I received my FREE iPad 2 last week, thanks to Marriott Rewards!!!  Yes, hubby does all the travelling and I get to reap an occasional reward!  It's been so much fun playing with it.  I've already downloaded a bunch of free apps, which I'm finding that many of the freebies are just trials or "lite" versions of the full-blown app.  So I plan to do some research before buying a bunch of apps that may not be useful to me.  I did put my Martha Stewart Magazine on there, which is really cool!  And I downloaded apps for a couple homeschool magazines.  I'm looking for educational and organizational apps, like a planner, so if anyone has any recommendations, please let me know!

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